Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Embracing Fear

I almost put this post off for another day. I'm tired from today's personal training and being too wired to sleep after swimming last night, I'm still stuffy and my nose burns from accidentally getting pool water up it. It's too important though and the longer I wait, the more I forget.

Let me back up. I had to miss my usual Sunday swim class this past weekend. I let my teacher know and she offered to let me attend one of her others, which I thought was super nice. The only one I could make was last night from 7-830pm at the other pool. The scary pool! I normally swim at the more recreational 25yd pool, but this was at the 50m competition pool.

Now I'm thinking:

  • will I be able to leave work on time and make it there/miss traffic
  • finding a space in the limited parking area should be fun
  • about finding the door to the darn pool! (which happened to be in the attached non-pool-looking building)
  • about finding my way around
  • oh holy crap that's a big pool!
  • oh holy crap these swimmers are fast!
  • oh holy crap there are only 3 non-group/open showers?
  • whereeee is my teaaaacherrrr?
  • sizing up my new class (and freaking myself out because the first group of swimmers were actually at a masters swim meet)

I get nervous about the silliest things! Nothing bad happened! My teacher is awesome and my classmates were really friendly and welcoming. It was an even harder workout than my class normally does because most of the people in the class were at my ability or above. We didn't need to stop as much for direction and did longer drill sets. I felt great when I finished.

Then I ended up being a bit deflated. 

I stopped to ask my teacher if there was much of a difference between her regular freestyle class and her triathlon freestyle class. There really wasn't much difference other than some thought put into conserving your legs for the bike and run. I mentioned that I'm signed up for my first tri and another two girls piped in to ask what one I was doing and what the swim was. It's a 1/2 mile open water ocean swim. This DID make me nervous at first, but only because I had no yardstick to gauge how long swimming a half mile would feel. Now that's I've done a 1/4 mile and more on my own, with a decent time and only medium effort, I feel fine. It's 5 months away and I'm taking a swim class and have a pool membership. 

Well, one of girls was like, "you should do a freshwater or pool tri first. I thought I was really comfortable in the ocean and I flipped out during my first tri. It was even at a beach I grew up on but I wasn't prepared for the mass of other swimmers or the chop. I grew up on a boat." Of course you did! Haha. I mentioned that there is a special novice wave so that we have space and won't be swum over, but that didn't seem to matter. I mentioned that I'm very comfortable in, really, any kind of water (and I had what, in hindsight, was a scary experience in Hawaii without losing my cool) and can't remember NOT being able to swim, but that also didn't matter. I ended up thanking them for the advice and leaving it at that. My teacher was mostly trying to help me be in the most comfortable position possible and the girls were just trying to help, but it got to me a little bit.

It chewed at my brain while I was showering (and listening to the master's swimmers whine about the "swim lessons" taking up two of their lanes. Really? I'm registered for a class through the school. Your unaffiliated club rents the space. REALLY?!). It rattled around while I got dressed. By the time I picked up my husband it was really bugging me, so I texted the friend who inspired and pushed me to register in the first place. Seriously, my BA friend. I wouldn't be doing any of this if you didn't encourage me! I told her the brief version of what happened and she said exactly what I thought she would. I'd be fine (and also made me laugh). The thought I shared with her was,

What if I decide to just not be afraid?

Sounds silly, but it's pretty simple. I imagine myself standing in the sand at the edge of the ocean this August, feeling a cocktail of nerves, adrenaline and excitement. I'll feel a bit bittersweet, because once I start I will no longer be anticipating my first triathlon. I'll have a moment of self doubt where I realize that I can no longer dream of having a strong performance (when I should be happy to just complete it), because soon the writing will be on the wall. 

I will not be afraid.

I will feel the fear creep up from my stomach into my throat, but I'll push it down. I'll remind myself that there is absolutely no way I will be unable to finish the swim. I will fight and I will remind myself of this for 1/2 a mile until I reach the sand on the other side, but I refuse to be afraid. I will not acknowledge it.

That list at the top where I run down my thoughts? That's the beginning of fear. It stopped me from being a runner for a few years until I wanted it more than I was afraid. It stopped me from doing many things that were out of my comfort zone. Just don't think about it too much. Find what you want to do. Find out how to do it. Put yourself in motion. I decided to write this post now because I started thinking about how different things are at the moment. I swim? I take lessons? I go to a pool on my own and split a lane with strangers? In many aspects of my life I've had to just stop thinking about it and jump in. I refuse to be the cautious observer. The best part is that every time you do this, it makes the next time easier.

My friend's response to my thought about deciding not being afraid?

That's when it gets fun!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Hot Toddy

Hello friends! I've been fighting a head cold since Tuesday night and I've decided that I needed a hot toddy (or two). I'll go back and see where I left off with workout posts so I can update that too, but this week has been a bit light due to how I've felt. I'll discuss working out when sick in that post. Now, before we get on to the good stuff, here's my disclaimer. This is my idea of a calm the sniffles/soothe a sore throat drink. Don't have alcohol if you are REALLY sick. It will dehydrate you, not cure you. Last night I felt awful so I avoided it then. After sleeping 11 hours last night and a 3 hour nap today, I feel a lot better. Now I just want some symptom relief.

I knew a hot toddy was hot water and bourbon or whiskey. The rest really seems to vary depending on who you ask. I looked at a few recipes and put together what I felt like I needed. I know a post with no pictures is pretty boring, but it just wasn't happening today.

Hot Toddy

2 oz whiskey or bourbon (I used Bulleit Rye whiskey because that's what we had)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
3-4 dashes of cinnamon (dashes/shakes from the shaker)
2 dashes of cloves
1 dash allspice
honey to taste
boiling water

Put all ingredients in a coffee mug up through the honey. Boil water and fill the mug. It's really up to you how much honey and water you want to add. Enjoy!

* after making this I realized that steeping a smashed up piece of ginger root or a few pieces of candied ginger would be even better. I'd say just go for it if it sounds good to you.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lemon Rosemary Fizz

Okay, so it's not really a Fizz, it just get's really fizzy after you shake it. Fizzes are a particular type of drink, which this is not. I'm not sure anyone cares that much. I'm just heading off the "justsoyouknow..." comments. Haha.

First you have to make the rosemary simple syrup. WAIT! Don't go! That's usually a deal breaker for me too, but it's really not as much of a pain as I imagined.

Rosemary Simple Syrup
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
5 or 6 big sprigs of rosemary

Combine all over high heat until the sugar is melted. Reduce to simmer for 10 minutes. (Be like me, forget about it for 20 and it still tastes fine)

Lemon Rosemary Margarita
1-2 ounces white tequila (I prefer Herradura. You could use gin or vodka if you like instead)
1 ounce of Canton ginger liquor
2 ounces rosemary simple syrup
juice of one lemon
5-6 large ice cubes
optional - 2-3 dashes of angostura bitters (if you love bitters as much as I do and sneak them into everything)

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake the heck out of it! It will get really fizzy and bubbly on top. I like to use big cube-shaped ice cubes because they don't melt as fast and I like the little ice chips that break off of the corners when you shake the drink. If it's too sweet you can dial back on the simple syrup (but lose a bit of the rosemary flavor) or the ginger liquor, which is also pretty sweet.


Monday, February 13, 2012

I love swimming!

I made it to the pool on Friday and managed to get a feel for the place. I managed to find my way around (the people working there are so nice!), open my gym lock and share a lane with another swimmer without anything terrible happening. See? That wasn't so bad! I could only stay for 15 minutes, but managed to swim more than a 1/4 mile in the 12 or so minutes I was actually in the pool. I feel good about that time since it was my first workout type swim and since I was probably only putting in a medium effort. I was really mostly there so I wouldn't be so nervous on Sunday. I still managed to be starving before my personal training and had to inhale half an energy bar right before hand. I was also late, so I was pretty wired when I got there. I won't go into the details of the workout, but I will say that fatigued legs seems to be the new theme. As much as it hurts, I appreciate her getting me used to that now in preparation for my triathlon. The one exercise that stuck out was that she made me do walking lunges with weights overhead, but instead of the lighter bar or dumbbells, she had me walk with two 15lb dumbbells overhead. 30lbs doesn't seem like a lot until you are trying to lunge and get yourself back up to take the next step! Her experiment also showed something. I would put the weight down previously but she suspected that if she gave me a heavy weight, I'd keep it up since it was too hard to lift and put back down repeatedly. She was right. I ended up toughing it out and getting it over with quickly. My arms were already tired from swimming. Darn it!

My class on Sunday was so awesome that I can't wait for next week! I was afraid I'd be the slowest swimmer and the biggest newbie, but I wasn't. Everyone else was nervous as well and I ended up trying to make everyone else feel better. I find that happens a lot. I get really nervous about something and end up being a one-woman pep-rally. We mostly did form drills and they were fun, but so tiring! I was really happy with how well I did. We were lined up by speed/ability and I ended up being moved up an bunch of times until I was in the top 1/4. I was already so happy to not be last that I couldn't believe I was actually doing well! My swim fins and new suit are coming this week and I'm so excited. I can't wait to get back there for another workout!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Classic Rock playlist

I've been listening to classic rock quite a bit on my way to and from work. Specifically, 105.7 and 100.7, for those of you in the Boston area. My elation at the luck of Whipping Post coming on while I was driving home tonight reminded me that I have been wanting to start posting some of my "themed" playlists (and also reminded me that car-karaoke does not supersede being an attentive driver). In no particular order:

Ted Nugent - Stranglehold
I usually like to listen to this when I'm starting a treadmill run, especially a one-pace longish one. ESPECIALLY one of those ones where I set the treadmill to my goal pace and see how far I can get towards a 5K before I die start crying can't take the pain. 

The Allman Brothers - Whipping Post
A new-ish addition to the list, but one of my all-time favorite songs.

Nazareth - Hair of the Dog
(NSFW if you are unaware that this song says "SOB" about a million times) Sometimes I cheat and listen to the Guns N Roses cover of this, because it's a bit angrier and, well, why else would you be listening to this song? Plus, this song on its own justifies owning The Spaghetti Incident.

Led Zeppelin - Immigrant Song
Some day I'm going to accidentally sing out loud at the gym. You totally know what part...


Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter
This is just another song I love and can zone out to. One of my favorite parts of this song, is around 3:03 where the female vocalist's (Merry Clayton) voice cracks and a second later, you can hear Mick Jagger shout, "WOO!" in response.

Journey - Separate Ways
Because, how can you resist? What? It's from the 80's (1983 to be exact) and isn't classic rock? Well, my friends, our parents music was new at one point too. I can't believe this song is almost 30 years old, but when I heard a song from the same year on our local oldies channel, I put a trip to Sephora at the top of my to-do list for some anti-aging cream. Since I love mullets you, here's the actual music video.

The Temptations - Can't Get Next to You
I admit this is more Oldies than Classic Rock, but I don't have an Oldies running playlist and it fits with the vibe of this list anymore. I like to listen to this and pretend that I'm a total bad a-- speedster.

There are a few more song I thought about adding, but these are the ones I listen to most. Often, I end up getting to one and repeating it for most of the workout. If you're lucky, my next playlist will be 80s/90s and include songs from the Top Gun soundtrack. Be afraid. Get excited!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Being a Scaredy

I signed up for a swim class!

I get really nervous when I start anything new that is athletically related. I'm nervous I won't know where to go, have the right stuff, won't be able to work my gym lock...I'm scared I'll be the worst in the class (see also: being last in races. I never was for all that worry.)

However, I'm super excited! The old Jillian would have made some excuse to not sign up due to the unknowns. The new Jillian has forced enough change and trying intimidating things on herself that, while the fear is still there a bit, it's possible to just try. That's it. Just. Try. Get your stuff together, show up with a smile, and your best intentions. Sometimes I find that makes all the difference.

In addition to my current gym membership, I signed up under my husband's school gym membership and now have access to two pools. It was much cheaper than joining the local YMCA and more convenient than the local community pools. It was random chance that I saw this 8 week class, focusing on form and teaching you how to do flip-turns. Mostly I need the form, the turns are an added bonus. In addition, now I will feel like I'm training for my tri with the correct form.

Tonight was another workout with my trainer. I ended up doing about 45 walking lunges on each side, 45 push ups and 45 sit ups as well as planks, squats and some other stuff. I felt good and like my legs got a great workout, but I wish I had stayed focused the entire time. My stomach was hurting and I let it get to me.

I will probably swim on my own just to check the place out on Friday before Sunday's first swim lesson. I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Burpee Punishment

How can you not love running to this song?

I KNOW! Coldplay...I'm so original.

But, seriously. I make playlists for treadmill runs so I can bribe myself into doing more than 15 minutes. On rare occasions, I feel like having music when I run outside too. It's kind of a treat to just go out without any specific mission and run along to music.

So, here's today:

Made my right rotator cuff angry right off the bat while changing at the gym (sports bras are perilous).

I was going to attempt to do a spin class and my personal training session, but I was just too tired. That means I have to make up a bit tomorrow, but it won't be as bad after I take a nap today and catch up on sleep tonight. I just went to training. Here's the general run down of what we did.

5 min warm up (6mph run) and stretch pre-session

Walking lunges with a weight bar above my head (I groan whenever she grabs that bar), down and back. I'd guess the room is 50-60 feet long or so.

Walking lunges without the weight down and back.

15 push ups.

Then I had to do a jumping exercise, from ring to ring. I started on my right foot and had to jump to my left and about a foot forward and land on my left foot without touching my right foot down. Then I jumped to the right and about a foot forward, alternating back and forth until I got to the end. Then I went back. I'm not sure how far apart they were, but it was really as far as I could jump, swinging my arms and pushing as hard as I can.

Then I did ball catches where I balanced on my butt, feet off the floor and caught a ball my trainer was throwing from my side. I had to rotate away from her and then throw the ball back. 15 on each side.

Then I balanced on one leg and caught the ball that she was throwing 15 times. She threw it in slightly different directions each time, causing me to really have to use my core to keep my balance. Each time I put my foot down (or hopped around too many times towards the end) I had to do a Burpee. NOOO! Google them if you don't know what they are. No Burpee videos on this blog! Then I switched legs and did 15 more.

After that was two legged jumps on the Gravity Machine for a minute and a wall sit for a minute. That was repeated 3 times with as quick of a transition as possible. Oh holy crap. Wall sits kill! I remember doing 30 seconds and never thinking I could do more. I was a little slow going back and forth, so I had to hurry it up. Part of the point was to work with fatigued, burning legs. It's awesome that she plans workouts now that are already prepping me for my tri!

I did all of that twice for sure, but for some reason I feel like I did part of that sequence more. Maybe the ring jumps? I don't know. You get the point.

Oh, and I did 4 Burpees. Wah wahhhh....

I probably won't post all workouts as detailed as this, but portions of them. This just gives you kind of an idea of what I do.

Now it's lunch time!

I have recipes to share, specifically a healthy stuffed pepper recipe and a chicken and roasted veggie enchilada recipe.

Edited: to mention that after my workout I went to City Sports to buy a swimsuit for tri training and ended up punching myself in the face trying to wriggle into one of them. Good times.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Fresh Start

I've been thinking a lot about this blog and where I want to go with it. It's been a while since I posted, but I was just kind of stumped. There are a couple of big things on my mind that I've been wanting to write about, but wasn't sure how all of it will fit. Then I realized that the feedback I get is that those of you I inspire feel that way because I keep it real. I cry, I fall down and I get back up. What's been on my mind?

1. My trainer asked me to find a way to be more accountable. She said she knows I know what to eat, but is afraid I wasn't pushing myself in my solo workouts. I was to come up with a plan or she would veto it with her (unknown to me) plan. Well, this is my plan. I do keep it real with you guys. The gaping 6 weeks or so I've been absent from here have been full of lack-luster workouts (minus the ones I have with my trainer). I didn't want to admit it at first and maybe it's that I just didn't want to think about it or write on here. I plan to check in as close to daily as I can. I won't say daily, because I don't want to get into the downward-spiral of not doing it one day and then blowing it off longer. Also? I did not reach the 140s. I almost reached the 160s though. Yeah...not okay. I'm back to 155 today and feel a lot better. I will be detailing my workouts more and commenting on the effort. I'll also probably talk more about what I actually eat day to day. Race plans still only officially include the triathlon in August, but I'm looking at the BAA 5K as my possible first race this spring.

2. While I don't talk about work much, I will say that it has been much more stressful than normal. After a lot of thinking I realized that the only way I can deal with it is to focus on myself. I can't change anything outside of my reaction to any given situation. All I can do is figure out what responsibility I had and learn from it. It's HARD to admit, when you want to point all of your fingers at the other person or situation, that you had a role. I'm slowly accepting that while others may be wrong, it's not my place to right that. It's my place to find a way to function as smoothly as possible in my environment. As my new favorite Pinterest pin says, "There are 7 billion people in this world. Why are you letting one of them get you down?"

3. Food and drink! From my stats here and on Pinterest, food and (especially) cocktails are very popular. What the people want, the people get!

4. I can't tell you how much it means that a few of you have shared that I inspire you. Me? Really?! I mean, that's what I dreamed of. The whole point of this blog started from an idea to share what it's like to start out overweight, out of shape and totally intimidated. I hoped it would help you, but I had no idea. For you, I owe more than what I've given recently. One of these few people mentioned above recently moved clear across the country. Even though we rarely saw each other I really miss him (but so happy for his new start). WG, you inspired me. This new start is dedicated to you!